The International Children's Heart Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization based in Memphis, Tennessee. We are dedicated to helping children with congenital or acquired heart disease in developing countries throughout the world. We serve all children without respect to their race, religion or sex. Our primary goal is to make ourselves obsolete in the countries that we serve. To this end, we strive to educate the health care professionals in the countries we travel and bring them to the United States for advanced study so that they may better serve their own children.


Zagreb, Croatia March 9-12, 2002

March 9
As of today, the team has operated on six Croatian children since arriving earlier in the week. Twenty-four children are on the current surgical schedule and the team expects to operate upon the 500th Croatian child during this trip!

March 12
Dr. Novick reported today from Zagreb, "we have operated on eight children to date and six of the eight were extubated in the operating room. The Croatian surgeons have performed five of the eight operations with me serving as the assistant."

This latter statement by Dr. Novick vividly illustrates the two-fold goal of ICHF missions. First, ICHF provides immediate, lifesaving, surgical care for children. Second, ICHF provides education and training to the local surgeons, physicians, and nurses so they increasingly become able to provide the needed surgical services on their own. This second goal takes several years and many trips to achieve, but the results are long-standing. When Dr. Novick first began operating in Zagreb several years ago, the local hospital lacked many resources necessary to autonomously provide the necessary surgical care to the hundreds of Croatian children with life-threatening heart defects. Because of their war-ravaged state, they did not have the basic equipment and supplies necessary for complex open heart surgery. Furthermore, the health care team lacked sufficient training to successfully operate on these children.

However, now, thanks to your support, not only have nearly 500 children been directly served by ICHF teams in Croatia, but the resulting education and training have allowed the local Zagreb team to achieve a near-autonomous level of surgical skill and ability to "take care of their own".

In 1998, Father Joseph Kerrigan and Dr. Bill Novick published Healing the Heart of Croatia, an account of the first three years and 200 Croatian children served by ICHF. The book is available from

ICHF Saddened by Passing of Cardinal Kuharic, Archbishop Emeritus of Croatia

March 14, 2002 -- Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, a former bishop of this predominantly Roman Catholic country who preached tolerance during the wars in the Balkans, died earlier this week. He was 83. Cardinal Kuharic was very supportive of the International Children's Heart Foundation and was instrumental in forging the initial relationship between Croatia and ICHF. Cardinal Kuharic wrote the Forward to Healing the Heart of Croatia which was published in 1998. Cardinal Kuharic had a deep love and compassion for the children of Croatia. He will be deeply missed.

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